Over the past 10 years, Christine Williamson has become part of the Greenough backbone. Starting as an Account Supervisor in 2012, she steadily moved up the ranks to her current position as Senior Vice President, winning praise from her clients—and admiration from the Greenough team—every step of the way. In this Q&A, Christine shares insights and her most memorable moments from the last decade.
How did working in news prepare you for a successful career in PR and marketing?
Before joining Greenough, I worked in the news industry, which proved invaluable when I moved over to the PR side of things. My job was in Creative Services, so I had to continually juggle between news and marketing. Plus, the tight deadlines and short scripts pushed me to understand exactly what elements of the story needed to be told and how best to put the pieces together as quickly as possible. Driving for that kind of clarity and purpose carried over to PR and has helped me better tie together a client’s key messages with the stories news reporters are looking to tell.
You’re well known at the agency for the relationships you build with clients. What’s the key to your client service success?
Creating a great relationship with a client boils down to putting yourself in their shoes. My goal is to fully immerse myself in a client’s culture, products and industry and truly understand what their goals are for their PR or marketing program. I can then use my skills and best judgment to frame how the client’s story should be communicated and what’s going to resonate with their key audiences. I always aim to make my clients’ lives easier and lighten their load. Knowing a client inside and out enables us to develop successful, meaningful and tailored programs—and those are most beneficial to the clients.
What are the most memorable projects you’ve worked on over the last 10 years?
We work with a lot of great clients at Greenough, so it’s hard to narrow down! I’ve been lucky enough to help launch companies and innovative medical, tech and consumer products, promote landmark international legal rulings, and help advocate for health equity. One of my proudest moments of the last 10 years has been working on the Arbella Insurance Foundations’ Distractology Campaign. This was one of the first programs to address the distracted driving epidemic, and it’s been proven to reduce accidents by 15%Greenough had the opportunity to represent Arbella’s program from the beginning, so I have spent a decade telling this story and seen firsthand how it makes a difference in people’s lives and keeps the roads safer. Another one of my proudest moments was pitching the Today Show for the World CPR Challenge. When the segment was broadcast live on the air, it appeared exactly as I had pitched it. We had dozens of NYC first responders teaching CPR to the NBC hosts and spectators live on the Plaza.
You’ve worked with clients across business services, healthcare and tech – how do you know when a client is really ready to take their PR and marketing storytelling to the next level?
I think the best PR and marketing campaigns come from a boundaryless partnership between the agency and the client. Once I fully understand the ins and outs of the company I’m working with and how to delight my client, I’m able to essentially work as if I’m walking the halls with them every day. I’m fully immersed in my client’s goals, messages and challenges and this allows me to work seamlessly across the account.
Many of your clients are reaping the benefits of integrated marketing programs –what excites you most about Greenough’s offerings for clients?
Greenough has allowed me to expand client opportunities and exponentially increase their audiences by using integrated marketing programs to channel their stories through earned, owned and paid media. These opportunities have been a game changer for many clients and our strategies and execution are driving real business ROI. Being able to combine earned media with social, programmatic, display, OOH and content marketing is ultimately what moves a brand ahead of its competitors.
Since joining Greenough, you’ve started a family and now have three kids while working full-time! How does the agency help enable work-life harmony for you and other working parents on the Greenough team?
They say it takes a village, and I know that sounds cliché, but Greenough is truly part of my village. My colleagues and I are always willing to give each other a hand, whether that is helping one another out when kids are at home sick or splitting up work to ensure that things are getting done efficiently. We all work together to make sure everyone gets the support they need to succeed, no matter the situation.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone just starting their PR career?
My biggest piece of advice for anyone entering the workforce, not just PR and marketing, is to dive in, not be afraid and learn as much as you can. Be a hard worker, and always be open to trying a new approach, going in different directions, and working out the best solutions for the tasks at hand. Most importantly, it is okay to fail as long as you pick yourself back up and try again. Learning is the biggest part of any career, and it goes a long way when accompanied by motivation and perseverance.